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Performing Arts

Performing Arts department

Performing Arts Department connects the board of FDO with the dance schools, clubs and individual dancers. The PA department’s task is to develop and promote it’s disciplines both by honoring the traditions and encouraging us to be openminded towards new ways of doing and seeing things. PA department is collaborating with both national and international connections to create new ways of doing things together.

Anitra Ahtola, Espoo

Members of the department
Marco Bjurström, Helsinki
Josephina Chelelgo, Tampere
Jenna Eloranta, Espoo
Leea Hamari, Tornio
Asta Hartikainen, Oulu
Tanja Huotari, Helsinki
Suvi Nieminen, Turku
Nikke Nikulainen, Vantaa
Pasi Mäkelä, Helsinki
Anna-Maria Paadar, Lappeenranta
Krista Saarela, Vantaa
Suvi Salmi, Tampere
Merja Satulehto, Oulu
Pamina Spångberg, Espoo

What does Performing Arts Discipline mean in Finland?

In general it means that in a FDO PA competition you can either participate with a piece that is based on only one PA discipline (contemporary, jazz, modern, ballet, flamenco, tap, bollywood….) or you can mix so many disciplines as you want. Acrobatics, props, lip synch etc are allowed. All the props or scenery must be brought on stage and taken away by the dancers themselves.

In Finnish PA we don’t have rules concerning dance techniques or styles. The general rules are of course in use i.e. age groups, the length of the piece and the amount of dancers are the same as in IDO rules. In FDO’s PA competitions only the 3D judging system is used i.e. In Finland we don’t give separate points for the ”show value”.

However, if you are interested in competing in PA disciplines in international IDO competitions the rules are very different. You can find the IDO definitions of Show Dance, Modern and Contemporary Dance and Jazz and Lyrical Dance after this paragraph.

NOTE: All pieces that are done following these IDO definitions are very welcome to FDO’s PA competitions. The biggest difference, compared to IDO competitions, is that in Finland we have all the different styles and disciplines competing together.



1. Show Dance in the broadest sense is based either on any Jazz/Lyrical, Ballet and/or Modern and Contemporary dance technique. Other dance disciplines can also be incorporated but cannot dominate. Ballroom, Latin or Rock ’n’ Roll are excluded and cannot be performed. Show Dance allows the use of lifts (except for Children), acrobatics, props, lip-sync and other theatrical effects. An IDO Show Dance number always has to have a guideline, story or visible concept to entertain the audience.

2. When movements and elements of other IDO dance disciplines such as Disco Dance, Hip-Hop, Electric Boogie, Break Dance and Tap, or when American & International Ballroom and Latin Dance is used in the performance, such movements / styles should not control / dominate the performance.

3. The dancer’s personal interpretation should be clearly evident when using any of these disciplines or styles.

Modern & Comtemporary


Modern dance is an artistic form with many styles that has undergone development over a relatively long period of time.

Modern dance is a more relaxed, free style of dance in which choreographer’s uses emotions and moods to design their own steps, in contrast to ballet’s structured code of steps. It has a deliberate use of gravity, whereas ballet strives to be light and airy. The development of modern dance was the logical consequence of the dancing styles that existed at the start of the 20th century, when the modern dancers of that period attempted to break free from established ballet forms, which they considered to be stiff, strict and restrictive and therefore they started searching for new trends and techniques to give dance a new direction.

This particular dance discipline concerns using modern dancing techniques that were created for the most part during the first half of the 20th century by renowned dance teachers and choreographers, /e.g. Martha Graham, José Limon, Alvin Ailey, Merce Cunningham, Lester Horton and a host of others on the American continent, and Kurt Jooss, Mary Wigman, Hanya Holm and many others in Europe.

In view of the fact that all dance remains in a constant state of movement and development, this does not mean that we have to use only the aforementioned techniques in their original forms. On the contrary, it is also about using contemporary trends in modern dance techniques that either goes back to the foundations established by the aforementioned dance instructors or we can use totally new, experimental and original concepts for modern dance. Contemporary dance brings new information about body and how the body works, offers new quality of movement, new shapes of body in area, brings new composition process and space for experiment.

Characteristics and Movement:
the entire routine must consist of modern dance techniques and current trends, and should correspond with age divisions and the movement skills of the dancers. Contemporary Ballet should not be confused with Modern Dance, and may not compete in this discipline. Other contemporary styles such as Hip-Hop, Disco, Break Dance and Electric Boogie may be incorporated, but must never control / dominate Modern dance performances. The main point of assessment for this discipline will be the level of the dance movements carried out, as well as the theme and story line. The story, the building of a plot, is possible, but not so much emphasized here as, for example, for Show dance. It is primarily about pictures, moods.

In Modern Dance, a story, theme, idea or concept may be used but must always be in good taste for children, junior and adult situations, but human situations, especially those dealing with intimate or personal relationships should acceptable to viewing by all ages.

Jazz & Lyrical


Jazz Dance Styles:

Primitive: This dance form stemmed from early African Folk Dances that were done by slaves brought to America from Africa, West Indies, Cuba, Panama and Haiti.

Early: Originated via the music of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Dances included the Two-Step or Cakewalk, and later became the Grizzly Bear, Bunny Hug, Turkey Trot, and Texas Tommy. This evolved into the fast music and dances of the 1920’s, the One-Step, Lindy Hop, Charleston and Black Bottom.

Musical Comedy / Theatre Jazz: These forms of Jazz became very popular via movies / theatre during the 1930s and 1940s. Many dance forms were incorporated in Musical Comedy Jazz. Ballet with “On Your Toes”, and Modern Dance in “Oklahoma” and “Brigadoon”. During the 1950s and 1960s, dance became an integral part of telling the story in Musical Theatre, as illustrated in musicals such as “Flower Drum Song”, “Destry Rides Again”, “West Side Story” and “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”. In 1978, the musical “Dancing” showed that the songs and books were secondary to the dancing; in fact, they are almost non-existent.

Contemporary: Primarily performed to music of the day, it began in the late 1950s to the music of Contemporary Jazz musicians like Dizzy Gillespie, Art Tatum and Dave Brubeck.

Today’s Jazz Dance: This discipline may be danced using many different styles and tempos, using themes based on Afro-Cuban, Oriental, Spanish or other national themes. It may be performed as a character, such as Cowboy, Sailor, Clown, etc. It may also be abstract in nature. Lyrical Jazz, performed to such music as Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings”, may be included in Jazz Dance Discipline

NOTE: Contemporary Ballet should not be confused with Jazz Dance, and may not compete in this discipline. Other contemporary styles such as Hip-Hop, Disco, Break Dance and Electric Boogie may be incorporated, but must never control / dominate Jazz Dance performances.